News24

Mokoetle to challenge suspension

2010-08-31 06:53

Johannesburg – SABC CEO Solly Mokoetle intends to challenge his suspension by the public broadcaster's board and any disciplinary action that may follow, his attorney said in a statement on Sunday.

"Mr Mokoetle has been treated most unfairly. His suspension comes at a time when the functionality of the board that suspended him is an issue that is currently before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications," Jurgens Bekker attorney Bongani Dlodlo said.

"It (board functionality) remains an issue in respect of which the Committee is yet to complete its deliberations," he said.

The new SABC board had been appointed in mid-January, just weeks after Mokoetle began serving his five-year contract.

Dlodo said that the letter of suspension Mokoetle received on Friday forbid him from communicating with the media in any way regarding his suspension and contemplated disciplinary hearing.

This order was in spite of a statement issued by the board openly announcing the decision to suspend Mokoetle.

Freedom of expression

"Mr Mokoetle views this as nothing but a transparent attempt to prevent him from exercising his right to freedom of expression and to effectively silence him," he said.

Dlodlo said South Africa needed leaders of "stature" like Mokoetle, who had previously served the SABC for a period of over 12 years until he left in 2006.

"Under his (Mokoetle's) leadership in the last eight months, the SABC successfully covered the 2010 FIFA World Cup and (had) shown a one hundred million rand profit in turning the SABC around from a deficit situation," he said.

Mokoetle was suspended on Friday following a meeting with the board on Thursday.

Formal charges were still being prepared and would be given to Mokoetle.

The public broadcaster's chief financial officer had meanwhile been appointed acting group CEO.